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Dow Henry Finsterwald, Sr. (born September 6, 1929) is an American retired professional golfer who is best known for winning the 1958 PGA Championship. He won 11 Tour titles between 1955 and 1963, played on four Ryder Cup teams, and served as non-playing captain for the 1977 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Dow Finsterwald
Dow Finsterwald 1960.jpg
Finsterwald in 1960
Personal information
Full nameDow Henry Finsterwald
Born (1929-09-06) September 6, 1929 (age 90)
Athens, Ohio
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight160 lb (73 kg; 11 st)
Nationality United States
ResidenceOrlando, Florida
Colorado Springs, Colorado
CollegeOhio University
Turned professional1951
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Senior PGA Tour
Professional wins13
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour11
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters Tournament3rd: 1960, 1962
PGA ChampionshipWon: 1958
U.S. OpenT3: 1960
The Open ChampionshipDNP
Achievements and awards
PGA Player of the Year1958
Vardon Trophy1957

Finsterwald was born and raised in Athens, Ohio. He attended Ohio University in his hometown, where he played on the golf team and graduated in the Class of 1952. In 1969, he was inducted into the Ohio University Athletics Hall of Fame joining his father, Russ Finsterwald, who was in the first class of inductees as a football player, and later basketball and football head coach.[1] He turned professional in 1951.

Finsterwald won 11 times on the PGA Tour during his career. He was known for his superb short game. He was one of the most consistent players on the Tour in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He finished fifth or better more than 50 times in his career. Finsterwald was a close friend of Arnold Palmer, who was also one of the dominant players on the Tour during this same time period.

Finsterwald played on four Ryder Cup Teams (1957, 1959, 1961, 1963) and was the non-playing captain of the 1977 team. He won the Vardon Trophy in 1957, which is awarded to the tour professional with the lowest scoring average. In 1958, he was honored as PGA Player of the Year.[2] Finsterwald finished in the money in 72 consecutive tournaments – second only to Byron Nelson's 113 consecutive cuts. This record stood for many years until eclipsed by Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin and Tiger Woods; however, he is still fifth on the list today.

The 1958 PGA Championship was held at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pennsylvania. This was the first PGA Championship held after the format was switched from match play to stroke play. Finsterwald finished the tournament with a two-stroke victory over Billy Casper.[3] Four years later, Finsterwald and Gary Player lost one of the most epic battles in golf history – the 1962 Masters – in a playoff to Arnold Palmer.

Finsterwald was once involved in litigation in which a plaintiff claimed she lost the sight in her right eye as a result of an errant tee shot he hit at the 18th hole at the 1973 Western Open. A jury found Finsterwald not liable; however, Midlothian (Illinois) Country Club's insurers had to pay the woman about $450,000.[4]

Finsterwald served as director of golf at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado for 28 years. He simultaneously served as PGA of America vice-president from 1976–1978; and on the USGA Rules of Golf committee from 1979-1981. He is also the Pro Emeritus of the Pikewood National Golf Club, based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Finsterwald was honored by fellow Ohio native Jack Nicklaus at the 2007 Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. In 2008, he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.[2]

Finsterwald lives in Orlando, Florida during the winter and Colorado Springs during the summer.[2] His wife Linda died in 2015. They have three sons and a daughter. His middle son, Dow Jr., is head pro at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, site of the Fort Worth Invitational.


Professional wins (13)Edit

Finsterwald at the 1959 Buick Open

PGA Tour wins (11)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner(s)-up
1 May 29, 1955 Fort Wayne Invitational −19 (65-66-71-67=269) 3 strokes   Doug Ford
2 May 13, 1956 Carling Open Invitational −14 (65-71-69-69=274) 3 strokes   Jack Burke, Jr.,   Billy Casper,
  Billy Maxwell
3 Feb 11, 1957 Tucson Open Invitational −11 (68-67-66-68=269) Playoff   Don Whitt
4 Jul 20, 1958 PGA Championship −4 (67-72-70-67=276) 2 strokes   Billy Casper
5 Sep 8, 1958 Utah Open −17 (69-65-67-66=267) 1 stroke   Fred Hawkins,   Arnold Palmer
6 Apr 12, 1959 Greater Greensboro Open −6 (68-68-65-77=278) 2 strokes   Art Wall, Jr.
7 Aug 9, 1959 Carling Open Invitational −8 (74-68-66-68=276) 1 stroke   Gene Littler,   Mike Souchak
8 Sep 7, 1959 Kansas City Open Invitational −5 (68-69-69-69=275) Playoff   Don Fairfield
9 Jan 11, 1960 Los Angeles Open −4 (70-68-71-71=280) 3 strokes   Bill Collins,   Jay Hebert,
  Dave Ragan
10 Apr 24, 1960 Greater New Orleans Open Invitational −18 (69-66-66-69=270) 6 strokes   Al Besselink
11 Jun 3, 1963 500 Festival Open Invitation −16 (68-68-64-68=268) 2 strokes   Tommy Aaron,   Julius Boros,
  Tony Lema,   Bobby Nichols

Major championship is shown in bold.

PGA Tour playoff record (2–4)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1956 Canadian Open   Doug Sanders Lost to par on first extra hole
2 1957 Tucson Open Invitational   Don Whitt Won 18 hole playoff (Finsterwald:65, Whitt:69)
3 1958 Rubber City Open Invitational   Art Wall, Jr. Lost to birdie on second extra hole
4 1959 Buick Open Invitational   Art Wall, Jr. Lost 18 hole playoff (Wall:71, Finsterwald:73)
5 1959 Kansas City Open Invitational   Don Fairfield Won with birdie on first extra hole
6 1962 Masters Tournament   Arnold Palmer,   Gary Player Palmer won 18-hole playoff (Palmer:68, Player:71, Finsterwald:77)

Other wins (2)Edit

this list may be incomplete

Major championshipsEdit

Wins (1)Edit

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1958 PGA Championship 2 shot deficit −4 (67-72-70-67=276) 2 strokes   Billy Casper

Results timelineEdit

Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament T50 T46 T24 T7 T17 T18
U.S. Open CUT CUT T28 T13 T11
PGA Championship 2 1 4
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament 3 CUT 3 T5 T9 T21 T57 CUT
U.S. Open T3 T6 T12 8 CUT CUT T65
PGA Championship T15 T41 T11 T3 CUT T63 T12 T60 T48 T76
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament
PGA Championship CUT CUT T58 CUT CUT T70 70 CUT CUT
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open CUT
PGA Championship CUT CUT

Note: Finsterwald never played in The Open Championship.

  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 2 3 5 9 14 12
U.S. Open 0 0 1 1 3 6 15 8
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PGA Championship 1 1 1 4 4 7 24 15
Totals 1 1 4 8 12 22 53 35
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 13 (1955 U.S. Open – 1960 PGA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (twice)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ohio University Athletics Hall of Fame site". Archived from the original on February 22, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Baines, Gary (February 28, 2008). "Dow Getting His Due". Colorado Golf Journal. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  3. ^ "Year by Year History of the PGA Championship – 1958: Bolt was an angel, Dow was a terror". PGA of America. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  4. ^ Clifford, Robert A. (May 1, 1996). "Getting Teed off Over Golf Balls". Retrieved November 21, 2013.

External linksEdit